Monday, September 19, 2016

Book Marathon Day XVIII

Minas Tirith

Well I pulled another long-haul and got through The Two Towers.  At this point, I need to read about 160 pages for the next three days to finish the marathon.  It's not a ton, but it is a challenge.  Perfect!

As I was reading, I got to thinking about the Dead Marshes.  I found it pretty hard to explain exactly what they were to my mom when we first watched the movies, and still it is one of the more perplexing landscapes in The Two Towers.  

Image result for dead marshes

This time around, it kind of reminded me of the Mirror of Galadriel.  While the Marshes are a glimpse into the past, the Mirror is a glimpse of (at least in the case of the Hobbits) the future.  The Marshes draw Frodo dangerously in and seem to try and trap him in a watery grave, while the Mirror offers both perilous information and hope for Frodo.   I don't know how far the similarities stretch, but for some reason I was drawn to compare them whilst reading.

One of my favorite parts of The Two Towers is the very end when Sam debates whether or not he needs to carry on Frodo's mission and destroy the Ring, or if his ultimate duty is to stay by Frodo's side.  Sam is just such a sweet character.  He grabs Frodo's hand and just weeps over it, begging his friend not to "go where I can't follow".  Awww, Sam!  (Kolby, if you're reading this, that's a big reason why Sam is my favorite member of the fellowship).

Image result for don't go where i can follow

Another favorite quote is a little lecture Faramir gives in Ithilien:
“I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.”
And I was particularly struck by the description given by Faramir of finding Boromir dead.  It's such a sweet moment:
"Then the boat turned towards me, and stayed its pace, and floated slowly by within my hand's reach, yet I durst not handle it. It waded deep, as if it were heavily burdened, and it seemed to me as it passed under my gaze that it was almost filled with clear water, from which came the light; and lapped in the water a warrior lay asleep. 
A broken sword was on his knee. I saw many wounds on him. it was Boromir, my brother, dead. I knew his gear, his sword, his beloved face. One thing only I missed: his horn. One thing only I knew not: a fair belt, as it were of linked golden leaves, about his waist.

Boromir! I cried. Where is thy horn? Whither goest thou? O Boromir! But he was gone. The boat turned into the stream and passed glimmering on into the night. Dreamlike it was, and yet no dream, for there was no waking."

Image result for faramir finds boromir dead


Chaeli Borchers won the last trivia question!  Congratulations!

The winner of this trivia question gets the title: Elf-friend.

What is the last sentence of The Two Towers?

Bonne chance!


  1. True confessions: I am veryyy behind on the challenge. Not only am I only on the chapter "The Road to Isengard" but I also still have the Silmarillion to read. :/ But oh well! I'm sure I'll enjoy it whenever I read it.

    But congratulations to you! I looove the ending of The Two Towers because of the tension(even though it's dark) and Sam. I love Sam.

    Okay, so I have a question for you: way back at the beginning of tFotR, Gandalf or Frodo or someone mentioned the "orcs" who captured the dwarves before Bilbo met Gollum. Why are they orcs in FotR and goblins in The Hobbit? Or are the terms synonymous? I'm really curious now... :)

    1. Orcs and goblins are pretty much the same thing. I do have a theory that goblins refers more to the Moria Orcs (who in FOTR are sometimes called goblins) and are smaller, more wizened, more accustomed to underground living. Whilst Orcs live aboveground and are larger and stronger. Just my guess. But they are basically the same thing.

    2. Meredith, don't worry about it! The main point of the book marathon is to inspire people to read the books even if they don't finish in the time allotted. Please let me know how the Silmarillion goes!

      Oh dear, dear Sam :')

      Orcs and goblins are interchangeable, however, of the two Orc is the more correct term. "Goblin" is the English term used in The Hobbit, but "Orc" is associated with The Silmarillion. Originally, when The Hobbit was unassociated with The Silmarillion, Tolkien used the more generic term "goblin", but when it was absorbed into the larger legendarium, the goblins became more specifically "Orcs". This is explained in the Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, though sadly the exact letter number escapes me.

      Benita, I couldn't find a mention of "goblins" within FOTR, however, if there is one mentioned in Moria, it surely is equivalent to an Orc because there are multiple mentions of the assailants in Moria as being Orcs.

    3. Yup, like I said, 'goblin' and 'Orc' are interchangeable in any case - my theory wouldn't change that. Goblins and Orcs would simply have physical differences while being part of the same race, similar to the variations within the human race. But that's just my theory; who knows what Tolkien would say.

      I'm pretty sure my copy of FOTR uses 'goblins' a couple times. Maybe we have different editions.

    4. Ok well after researching a bit, I've discovered that both Benita and I are a little bit right but also wrong. Reliable blogger Michael Martinez has a whole article on this question that answers Meredith's questions best:

  2. "Frodo was alive but in the hands of the Enemy."

    I love how Tolkien ends TTT with such a cliffhanger. He's just as evil as I am. :D

    1. Not going to try after Benita J. Prins; I don't think I have a better guess. ;P Glad you're up for the challenge! I've almost finished the Silmarillion but didn't commit myself to much more because of school and work; I just don't have time. :( But I did manage to read a little bit of Unfinished Tales on the side!

    2. Isn't Unfinished Tales so awesome? There's so much random information in it that no sane person should know but is absolutely fascinating to me. :D

    3. Ah Benita you were SO close!! Ellen Gianna edged you out though, with the EXACT answer. Thanks for guessing though!

      Oh, I would have gone mad reading The Two Towers for the first time if I hadn't been spoiled about what was to come. Such a cliffhanger!!

      Chaeli, that's great! I know how hard it can be to find quiet time to read when there are so many pressing matters in life.

      I second your statement, Benita XD

    4. I looked it up afterwards and could've kicked myself! XD

  3. Darn, I'm always late! XD

    I finished The Hobbit and in the middle of The Silmarillion. If I get The Sil done by Thursday, I'll consider it a successful marathon for me :D

    Good luck to everyone!

    1. XD

      Yay! I can't wait until you finish The Sil: what do you think of it so far?

  4. Hi there! I haven't been officially participating in your marathon because I had already decided that September 22nd would be a great time to *start* LOTR (setting off on a journey the same day that the hobbits did, you know;)). But I'm currently re-reading "The Silmarillion" in preparation for that. Your posts have encouraged me to read it again, as I've only read it once. Wow, it certainly is breathtaking!

    The end of "The Two Towers" is also one of my favorite parts of LOTR. That cliffhanger ending made me screech aloud the first time I read it. I've read it countless times since then, and it always rips my heart out.

    Therefore, I know the answer to the trivia question "Frodo was alive, but taken by the enemy."

    Now I really want to read it again! As soon as I finish "The Silmarillion." That probably won't happen by the 22nd, but oh well, it will be soon enough.

    It's amazing how you can read so many books so quickly, by the way. I've always been a fast reader too, but I'm not nearly that fast!

    - Ellen Gianna

    1. Yay! Another person who likes the ending of TTT. I'm glad to not be alone in that respect! Isn't it so well done?? :)

    2. Ah, that's a great idea! Oh, I am so happy you were inspired to re-read :D

      It truly is a heart-wrenching ending.

      You hit it right on the nose! Word for word, that is the right answer, Elf-friend!

      Haha, thank you! My trick is reading whenever I have a spare second, even if I can only get a couple paragraphs in. It adds up over time.

      Meredith, I agree with you!

  5. Benita J. Prins, yes it is!! I really wish more people read ALL of Tolkien's works... not just LOTR and maybe the Silmarillion/The Hobbit. (Just finished the Silmarillion!! Onto finishing Unfinished Tales... haha.)

    1. You can never finish Unfinished Tales. They must remain forever unfinished. XD

    2. Chaeli, that is SO true. It's one of my goals to read some more of the History of Middle-earth books soon.

      That's funny, Benita XD

  6. Haha! Love that!
    P.S my favorite charector believe it or not is Theoden

    1. Oh hey, Kolby!

      Theoden, that's an interesting choice. I suppose he is a rather noble character.